Stabbing the end button with her finger, my friend erupted. “I’m so stupid!” Shoving the phone into her purse, her face was flushed and angry. “I can’t believe I did that!” Apparently she had forgotten to pick something up earlier that day and the phone call she just ended was the reminder of her lapse.
She rushed about, muttering more self-condemnation under her breath as she gathered her things and snatched up her keys. Still fuming at herself, she gave me a distracted hug and left.
My friend had been having a horribly busy week. You know the kind. Those times where you’re spinning a dozen plates, putting out fires, and keeping your ducks in a line to boot. It was completely understandable that she had forgotten this one thing in the sea of duties vying for her attention and I tried to tell her so but she wouldn’t hear of it.
Now understand that this dear friend of mine would be the first to offer me a long hug and words of encouragement if the situation had been reversed. She would have insisted that I accept her words of grace because she’s just that sort of lovely person. But it seems she had no grace to give herself, nor the ability to accept it from me.
Shortly after this incident, another sweet friend posted this on Facebook:
“Anyone else spend way to much time worried about what other people are going to think? Ugh. It’s an awfully stressful habit.”
This was from one of the most beautiful and productive women I know. There were several responses from ladies who could totally relate.
We all have an inner critic, don’t we? We say things to ourselves like: I’m so stupid! Why did I say that, or do that? They’re going to think I’m weird, or lame, or dumb. I look like the crypt keeper. I’m so fat, so ugly, so awkward. If only I were a better… I should be able to….
I’m slowly working my way through a study called Me, Myself, and Lies, by Jennifer Rothschild. She brings up a couple of things that have really gotten me to thinking. She shares this verse in the very first day of the study:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14, KJV)
‘May my words be acceptable’ ran through my mind again and again. The author pointed out that the words we speak to our souls, our thoughts, are the meditation of our hearts and they matter too. I chewed on this for days as I became more conscious of the words that were taking up space in my head. I was a bit surprised at the volume of unacceptable words floating around in the background of my consciousness.
Why do we speak words to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to someone else? It’s poison to our spirit and it cripples our walk. As beloved children of El Elyon, God Most High, this should not be so!
Let us instead speak words of truth to our souls. How does our Father see us?
Ephesians 1:4-5 says, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
So this tells us that we are: Loved. Chosen. Predestined. You. Me. We were chosen to be children of God before the world was ever made. Stop and soak that in for a moment…
And there’s more.
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Hebrews 10:14 “For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.”
Colossians 2:10 “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”
So let’s recap here. We are loved and chosen by the God of the universe. We stand before him not condemned, but as beloved children. We are already seen by our Father as perfect and complete, in union with Christ. There are a multitude of gracious bits to chew on in our Father’s Word, but I assume you get the point.
Ms. Rothschild continued the day’s study with another interesting tidbit. Jesus, talking to a group of Pharisees, says this,
“A good man produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil man produces evil things from his storeroom of evil.” (Matthew 12:35, HCSB)
This word for storeroom is the Greek word thesauros, where we get our word thesaurus. A thesaurus is a storeroom of words, is it not? And the same word in the Greek, thesauros, is used to describe the Magi’s chests of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)
Storerooms and chests are containers, and so are our hearts and our minds. Our hearts and minds are filled with words, some of which we’ve been speaking to ourselves for a long, long time.
Jennifer Rothschild puts it so beautifully when she says:
“The magi’s treasure chest existed to have something to give to Jesus. As we begin to speak wise words to our souls, we do so to ultimately have fitting treasure to offer our King. He deserves our finest thoughts, best words, and a thesauros full of truth.”
Whose words will we choose to meditate on? The condemning words of our inner critic, or the words of grace spoken by our loving Creator?
Father God, I bring my words and thoughts to You so that you may show me what is acceptable in Your sight. May I fill my heart with Your words of grace, that I may have a fitting treasure to present to You. Amen.